It may not be as simple as the common thought, to make money you’ve got to spend some, but that’s what Erickson Air-Crane did in the fourth quarter of 2012.
The heavy-lift helicopter company, whose primary manufacturing and maintenance operations take place in Central Point, embarked on a move into the medium-lift sector late last year, spending money during what has traditionally been an off-season for the company.
So despite seeing improved fourth-quarter revenue, Erickson Air-Crane showed a loss of nearly $963,000, or 10 cents per share, for the final three months of 2012. Still, the firm finished its first partial year as a publicly traded company with a $15.2 million profit, $1.56 per share. That compares to 2011 net earnings of $15.9 million, bolstered by a $11.2 million settlement with the IRS in the company’s favor.
Shares were trading at new highs this morning, following the company’s initial public offering last spring. Just after 8:30 Erickson shares were up 74 cents to $14.30.
“Erickson’s leadership position in the heavy-lift market continues to strengthen and we are confident in our ability to build our business in related sectors,” said during a morning conference call.
The company’s move to acquire Air Amazonia aerial services business from Brazil’s HRT Participacoes em Petroleo S.A., which began last year accelerated last week when it announced its biding offer to purchase the medium-lift helicopter operation for between $65 and $75 million.
“Following the purchase of the Air Amazonia fleet and operations from HRT, we will be poised to greatly accelerate our presence in the booming on-shore oil and gas sector in South America, an important source of strategic growth,” Rieder said. “Importantly, we believe we can efficiently service HRT’s needs while freeing up nearly half of the acquired fleet of 14 aircraft for other customers, in Brazil and other markets.”
Diversifying into passenger transport and medium-lift operations gives Erickson an opportunity to take advantage of growing demand from existing and prospective customers, Rieder said.
“Erickson Air-Crane is poised to drive top-line growth in 2013 and beyond,” Rieder said. “With the Air Amazonia transaction, we will be able to attack an expanded range of market opportunities by geography and end-markets utilizing a wide variety of helicopter platforms. We also anticipate reduced seasonality and improved profitability.”
During 2012, Erickson grew revenue 18.4 percent to $180.8 million, saw its flight operations increase nearly 19 percent to 12,075 hours and doubled operating Income to $33.4 million.
In the fourth quarter, revenue jumped 27.2 percent to $39.1 million and flight operations were boosted 14.6 percent to 1,766 hours.
During the quarter, Erickson spent $200,000 on its Air Amazonia deal, while roughly half of the period’s loss was related to a tax dispute with Greece.
“Firefighting activity remained strong in the fourth quarter, particularly with the U.S. Forest Service, and our new firefighting contract in San Diego helped drive a strong revenue performance versus prior year,” Rieder said. “We continued to see strong performance from our fast-growing aerial services business in support of the South American oil-and-gas industry, for which we deployed a second Aircrane at the end of the fourth quarter.”
The construction industry added 48,000 jobs in February, the ninth consecutive month of job growth for the sector, as more people are working in construction than at any point in the last three and a half years, according to an analysis of new government data by the Associated General Contractors of America. Association officials cautioned, however, that employment gains remain tenuous and could be undermined if Washington officials fail to reach a deal on federal investment levels later this month.
“With construction employment increasing by the largest amount for a single month in nearly six years, the steady improvement in construction hiring is particularly encouraging,” said Ken Simonson, the association’s chief economist. “The job gains are coming from every part of the construction industry and while the sector’s unemployment rate remains stubbornly high, it is heading in the right direction.”
Construction firms employed 5.78 million people in February, a gain of 48,000 from January and 140,000 or 2.5 percent from a year ago, Simonson noted. The industry unemployment rate, which is not seasonally adjusted and thus is typically high in February, fell from 17.1 percent in February 2012 to 15.7 percent last month.
In Australia, there’s a completely different outlook on world energy needs.